Capturing An Emotion - The Roli Experience

On two tracks on my new album “Hunted” I tried an experiment - composing music right in the middle of a forest.

A forest is a place of excitement, suspense and drama. I thought that there would be no better way to capture these emotions than to compose music as I experienced them.

The perfect location to record this experience: a beautiful, isolated lodge at Sitabani Wildlife Reserve, located next to Corbett National Park in Uttarakhand. I lived there for three weeks recording and composing. Sitting alone on the terrace at the lodge, experiencing the forest in the middle of the night, was one of the most amazing experiences I’ve ever had.

For this experiment to work, it was critical that I had a highly portable device to compose music. The instrument I chose was the Roli Lightpad block. From the moment I had heard about Roli, and their amazing five dimensions of touch technology, I was determined to try one. Besides being ultra-portable (it can fit in your hand), the groundbreaking design of this small piece of gear allows you to be extremely expressive. The musical notes are arranged in a grid pattern, with a stunning LED display which lights up when you play a specific note.

Not only is the surface of the instrument pressure-sensitive, it is also receptive to slide, glide, strike and lift gestures (what Roli terms “5D Touch”). In other words, all possible motions of your hand when in contact with the instrument can become musical gestures – a truly amazing breakthrough. Any composer will agree that there are times when only a continuous glide from one note to another (a glissando) is appropriate for a specific emotion. In some cases, one might want to change the pressure of your touch to elicit a certain response. The Lightpad Block lets you do all of this. It was the only gear I had sitting on the terrace at the lodge, immersed in the forest and composing music. It was truly an extraordinary experience.

The result of my experiment are the tracks Still and Conflict: both composed in the forest using the Lightpad Block. Check out the video of Still below, along with a link to the album.

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